1983 Men's Soccer

Cherif Zein’s living room in Pasadena looks like a photo shrine to the many soccer teams he has coached and played on, but he has a special place in his heart for the 1983 men’s soccer team from Glendale College that won the state championship in a 4-1 victory over Skyline College on December 3.

He speaks fondly about the trials of tribulations of molding a young group of players into a championship team as if it were yesterday, instead of 21 years ago. Winning the state championship is the goal of every college team when practice starts in August, but by the time the season ends in November, few schools can realize their dreams. In fact for Zein, the dream became a reality twice in five years, as he also coached the 1979 Glendale College team to the state title.
1983 soccer team

1983 Men's Soccer“To put a state championship at the community college level in perspective, you have to realize that you’re almost putting a new team together year after year because of players moving on to play at four-year schools or working or whatever,’’ Zein said. “Also recruiting players who have just high school or recreation league experience is not enough. You need top level club players to be able to compete and we had several of those in 1983. You also need some luck and we had some of that as well.’’
1983 soccer team

1983 Men's SoccerThe 1983 Vaqueros seemed to have everything working in their favor as they rolled to an 18-3-1 record in route to the state championship. The foundation for their success started in 1982 when Glendale finished the season ranked No. 3 in California in the final JC poll with a 16-2-3 record. Another key was holding on to several standouts from that team, including all-Metro Conference selection Ken Dapello, who set a school record with 19 goals as a freshman in 1982.

“I was almost set to attend Cal State Northridge in 1983 but Cherif said if we stuck together at Glendale, we could put it all together and win state,’’ said Dapello, who scored 21 goals and was named All-American that season. “Staying together and accomplishing what we did was just an awesome experience, and having a coach like Cherif helped us put it all together.’’
1983 soccer team

1983 Men's SoccerDapello said that the 1-0 victory over the defending state champions from El Camino College that clinched the Metro Conference title was a key to the Vaqueros title run. That state championship was earned without Dapello, as the diminutive sophomore earned a red card in the semifinals when he took a shot on goal after the referee blew the whistle and he was forced to sit out the championship game.

On campus a few days after Glendale won the title, Glendale Mayor Ginger Bremberg helped the Vaqueros celebrate their victory in a ceremony on campus. She declared the championship a victory for the men’s soccer team and for the City of Glendale. It was a season that the 1983 team will never forget.

Last updated: 1/27/2009 12:15:39 PM